4 Ways to Improve Your Banner Ad Design

February 21, 2014 Sofia André

Credit: Unbounce

Improving banner ad design is crucial if you want to improve your click-through rate. Business Insider formulated some statistics about banner ads, including the facts that you’re more likely to survive a plane crash or give to birth twins than click on a banner ad. Poor banner ad design is often one of the biggest factors leading to a poor click-through rate. If you improve your banner ad design you can prove these statistics wrong, and achieve a higher click-through rate! 

Most advertisers do not know how to optimise and improve their banner ads and therefore fail to achieve their campaign goals. However, you can easily get ahead in the game by following these 4 ways to improve your banner ad design.

1. Improve Banner Ad Design with a Defined Purpose

Credit: Brand awareness example WWF, Moat.com

The design of your banner ad will improve quickly if you have a clearly defined purpose. Think about the purpose of your banner ad: is its purpose to generate traffic to your site, to improve your conversions, build brand awareness, or all three?

For example, the WWF banner ad above is part of an awareness campaign, with the purpose to make people aware of the issues facing the natural word. The photo used in the banner ad is unique and eye-catching, and conveys a clear message without the need for copy. The picture itself, as they say, is worth a thousand words.

This banner ad has been clearly built with the intention to build awareness about cruelty towards animals and it manages to do this effectively. It is also clear from the lack of buttons to click on and the lack of text that WWF is not specifically aiming to generate site traffic or conversions.

In contrast, the design of the banner ad below, also by WWF, has a totally different purpose. By an eye-catching red call-to-action button on the right-hand side, it is clear that the focus of the banner ad design is conversions. It is also very clear that their goal here is to get people to come into the site to make regular donations, as explained in the text. 

Credit: Example for Conversions, WWF, Moat.com

 

2. Improve Design by Simplifying your Banner Ads

Credit: Price Chopper, Moat.com

 

You can easily improve your banner ad design by optioning for a simple, clean layout that is easy on the eyes. The banner above is a good example of a common mistake that many designers make: too much information on one banner. As you can see, by having too much information in such a small area it becomes distracting. The core message becomes unclear to the viewer, so they don't know what to expect if they click the banner ad.

The designers could easily improve the design of  this banner ad by limiting the amount of text and by using white space effectively.  By only featuring a few elements on the banner, the message that this banner ad is trying to express will be a lot clearer and viewers will not avoid clicking on the banner ad because it is unclear or looks suspicious. 

Gillette’s banner ad is an example of a simple design done well. They leave a lot of space and focus on the message the call-to-action with a powerful and contrasting colour. The location and colour of the button combined makes it impossible to miss. Compared to the banner above, Gillette’s banner is much more easy on the eye. The design here is good, functional and the best thing is that it's easily achieved. It is clear that if you want to effectively reach out to new customers, that simple design is superior. 

 

Credit: Gillette, Moat.com

 

3. The importance of colours in banners

Colours make a big impact and you can improve your banner ad design by using the rights colours in the right way. Gregory Ciotti wrote a great article about Psychology of colours in marketing and branding, which gives an insight in how important its is and how you can benefit from it in your ad campaigns.

Different colours will make the audience of your banner ads feel different emotions. Therefore it is important to choose colours that represent your brand, but also make people feel things that fit with who you are and what your product or service is. That relation is actually more important than the colour itself.

Take a look at the Colour Emotion Guide above – does the related emotion of your banner ad colours fit with what you and your product stand for? By spending some time thinking about what message or emotion you are trying to convey to your view you can improve your banner ad design. 

4. Improve Banner Ad Design with Better Copy

There are some points to keep in mind when writing your banner ad copy. As I mentioned earlier in this post, you always need to remember the goal and purpose of your ad. This also applies to the copywriting. What is the purpose and what is the message you are trying to convey? Which audience are you trying to speak to?

According to Emilie Futterman’s post on The Next Web, its important to keep the copy simple and un-cluttered. Avoid flashing or flickering text and instead go for lean, limited and strong copy. Keep in mind that people don’t have much time so the less they have to read to get your message, the better.

Final Thoughts

We can see that it’s not necessary to make really big changes in order to improve your banner ad design. Even small changes are enough to make improvements and you will soon see results. It is also worth testing different designs back and forth and you will notice what works the best for you!

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